Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Our original plan for our beekeeping adventures at the farm was to work up to having six hives total, three beds like we have below, with two hives in each.  This is in the area next to the garden we call the "bee yard".

Bee yard
But with the loss of one hive this season (the one on the right), we figured we should wait until we can keep two hives alive through a season before we expand our operation, ha.  So the other day, we ordered another package of working ladies for next season (wait, that sounds wrong, LOL). 

We ordered ours, once again from this place, R Weaver Apiaries.  We don't get anything from them in return for this post, this is just our own recommendation for really high quality bees from a company that cares about what they do.  They originally came highly recommend by a reader of the blog who gets his bees at the same place (thank you again for everything JM!).  This company  has been in business since 1888 so they must be doing something right.  

We ordered another package of BUCKFAST bees.  They are an Italian bee that was first developed by Brother Adam who was in charge of beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey in England.  Brother Adam has a fascinating story, if you're interested click HERE to read his Wiki entry.  They were developed for their highly desired qualities.  Even though we lost a hive, we won't blame that on the variety because the one next to it is thriving.


So anyway, they are ordered.  Yay!  You have to buy them now for delivery next Spring.  Yep, nothing like paying for something now that you won't get for almost six months.  Our "pick up date" is April 9, 2016.  Fortunately, it's not a long drive from the farm, and when you are driving with 10,000 bees in the back seat, you want to be as close to home as possible.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Now THIS is a day we enjoy because you can avoid the crowds!  Here it is, the "online" equivalent of "Black Friday". 

Cyber Monday is when we do much of our shopping.  Shopping online is so much easier, no crowds, quite often free shipping, and now we love using AMAZON PRIME.   We have personally had Amazon Prime for over a year now.  It offers free shipping on tens of thousands of items, no more trying to make the amount add up to a certain level (currently $35 or more).  You can literally order something for $2 or $3 and that's it, you don't pay shipping AND it gets to most places in 2 days (sometimes same day shipping in certain zip codes).  There are a lot of other features, including all of the great unlimited streaming movies and TV shows they have, you get a free kindle book download every month (one book out of four or five new releases), you can borrow books (like the library), over a million songs on ad free radio stations, Prime Pantry, and much more.  But let's be honest, we love the free shipping the best, ha.

We also love eBay, Etsy, iTunes for gifts and all the other usual suspects.  It's always fun to try to find something unique as well, something vintage, something someone collects, a hard to find item.  Those can make the best gifts. 

Do you have any websites for fun and/or unusual places you recommend for shopping?

Of course, I am not ashamed to admit I don't mind receiving gift cards.  How do you all feel about gift cards?  Do you like getting them for people and/or receiving them?

~Have fun online shopping today~

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Most every Sunday, we try to post an image of old posters that we find during online surfing.  We enjoy the ones that reflect farming, gardening and/or food preservation and rationing.  We enjoy them because we often wonder if anyone today would heed the kind of advice they gave back then...enjoy!

War Plants Need Corn, poster image courtesy of NY Public Library, War Images
Well this is an interesting poster image.  It's from WWII and urged farmers to move their corn to market as the war plants (manufacturing supplies/equipment for the war effort) needed them.  Not sure why, but we're guessing for fuel?

Hope you are having a good weekend, it's cold and rainy (and wet cold is the worst kind of cold) and so not much got done at the farm.  I got one raised bed prepped for Winter, a new method we're trying (post on that next week).  Next weekend is supposed to be sunny and clear, so fingers crossed!

We're off this afternoon to 2nd Man's Great Nephew's 4th birthday party.  We can't believe the long weekend is almost over...where DOES the time go?

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Found this magnet in a box of papers.  My Mom had given it to us as a joke a few years back and it got put into a box.  Being small and flat, it was misplaced.  and so when we found it, we had to put it on the stove at the farm.  She thought it was funny because she loved our cooking.   

Of course, men do tend to dirty up more dishes for some reason...

Off to the farm today, it's wet and cold.  Imagine that!

The rain has stopped so I'll put on the rubber boots and see what I can get done.  The back of the jeep is filled up with bags of soil/compost for the raised beds, we'll see how many I can get done before I need warmth, ha.  Of course, after last night's show, I'll most likely be singing the entire book of the Phantom of the Opera....hope the cows don't mind. 

Friday, November 27, 2015



This is where we are tonight!  

2nd Man surprised me with tickets.  I'm sort of a musical theater geek and while I've seen Phantom of the Opera before, it was in Los Angeles, back in the 90's.

Photo courtesy of Houston Broadway
This is a sort of remastered version...same music but all new production, sets, lighting, costumes, etc.  It's making a national tour and stopping in Houston for only a couple of weeks.  It actually ends this Sunday.  

When 2nd Man bought the tickets, he thought we'd already be living downtown in our apartment and could just hop over on the local metro rail.  But oh well, we're not far away, we do have to park and I hate looking for parking in places like this but hopefully it won't be too bad.  

One of my dearest friends in the world, Alison (she comments frequently) was the roommate of another dear friend of ours, Laurie, who passed away unexpectedly a few years ago.  Poor Alison, she had many a night where she went to bed in her room while Laurie and I sang musicals in the living room, (including Phantom of the Opera) until all hours of the morning.  I'm sure she'll be along in spirit tonight.  2nd Man said he's going to make sure I don't start singing along with the production...certainly don't want to create a "scene", LOL.  

We'll see...

We are only three rows back, orchestra level.  It will be a night to remember!

Music of the Night
Nightime sharpens, heightens each sensation.
Darkness stirs and wakes imagination.
Silently the senses abandon their defenses.

Slowly, gently, night unfurls it's splendor.
Grasp it, sense it tremulous and tender.

Turn your face away from the garish light of day.
Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light, and listen to the music of the night.

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams, purge your thoughts of the life you knew before.
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar.
And you'll live, as you've never lived before.

Softly, deftly, music shall caresss you.
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you.

Open up your mind, let your fantisies unwind,
in this darkness that you know you cannot fight.
The darkness of the music of the night.

Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world, leave all thoughts of the life you knew before.
Let your soul take you where you long to be.
Only then can you belong to me.

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication.
Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation.

Let the dream begin,
let your darker side give in, to the power of the music that I write.
The power of the music of the night.

You alone can make my song take flight.
Help me make the music of the night.


Here are a couple of pics (just got home, about 11:30pm).  They don't allow pics during the show, of course, but during intermission we could snap photos.  

We were only three rows back...the orchestra pit was just right in front of that seat in front of me.

...and right under the chandelier that of course plays a major role in the production...when it 'explodes' and crashes down, pieces of the fake glass (clear rubber) and glitter rained down on us, it was SO awesome!

Oh, and the production was "SOLD OUT", but oddly there was an empty seat next to me.  A single seat.  I'm sure the person just couldn't make it for whatever reason but to me, it felt like Laurie was there with us and she had her own seat.  



It's not something we really participate in.  We don't like the crowds and fighting people for $50 off on a TV.  It's just kind of nice to relax on the day after Thanksgiving and recover from the eating.  Plus, it seems the older we get, the more "anti-crowd" we become.  We'd rather have a quiet day at home or the farm and off work.  

For those outside of the United States who may be unfamiliar with this...it has traditionally become the day when stores have their biggest sales of the year, and they move from being "in the red" to "in the black" (i.e. profitable).  So stores have become known for having crazy good deals on this one day of the year.  Deals so good that many times, people camp out in line for days before Friday just to get that large flatscreen TV for $100 or something like that.  Most deals though are just a little better than a regular big sale.  They lure people in with a few really amazing deals because it gets them larger crowds who might buy something else.  No thanks, we'll stay in and pay regular sale price later on if we decide we need something like that.  

Our weather today is questionable.  I'm going to try to get to the farm to work on those raised beds but rain is coming yet again.  I could put it off to Saturday but the weather is even MORE questionable then.  I'm so over this crazy weather...we need a different kind of consistency, ha. 

Do YOU get out and fight the crowds for good deals today?

Thursday, November 26, 2015


No, not the birds...US!!

We once again did our vertically roasted turkey.  Here it is oiled up, seasoned and ready to go into the oven...

...and here it is a little less than one hour later.  YES, ONE HOUR...for a 13.5 lb bird.  All hail the benefits of a vertically roasted turkey!

Turkey, fresh rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, cranberry salsa, and a side plate of roasted Brussels sprouts (didn't fit on this plate, LOL).  

And we still haven't had the homemade pumpkin pie yet...

We think Brisbane and Hobart have the right idea...they have already had a snack of turkey and now a nap is in order!

UPDATE:  Several of you have asked in comments and sent us emails, about how we did the turkey.  We realized that new blog visitors might not have seen the posts before.  We started doing this in 2012, and then every year since.  Instead of redoing it as a new post, click below for links to prior years that we've done it with more detailed instructions.







We'll be having our own small Thanksgiving, cooking up some good food, and sharing with others.  Posts will be sporadic this weekend, unless the weather changes things of course.  This IS Houston after all, it might be nice, it might be a monsoon flood, it might be warm, it might be freezing...one thing IS for sure, we'll have full tummies!

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you, we are truly thankful to call all of you friends...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Today, well tonight actually, as I have to work, we are going to 2nd Man's family for a tradition they like to call Steaksgiving.  

With family members married, having kids, new in-laws, etc, it's hard to get everyone together on Thanksgiving Day because everyone is pulled in other conflicting directions.  So last year, they started a smaller get-together of just immediate family to free everyone up for Thanksgiving Day.  Instead of eating turkey and all the trimmings twice, they decided on steaks with all the trimmings.  Thus Steaksgiving was born!

2nd Man and I are bringing homemade yeast rolls, green beans with bacon and tomatoes, and cranberry salsa.  There will also be potatoes, other sides and of course the star attraction...steaks!  I'll take a picture of the final plate of food and come back later to add to this post when we get back home.

'Cause beef is always good...

UPDATE:  Photos from tonight...

Steaks from the grill, fresh mashed potatoes, green beans with tomatoes and bacon, mac and cheese (for the little guy in the family but of course, don't adults love a little mac and cheese too?), cranberry salsa and yeast rolls...

...and of course, a glass (or two) of wine.  It was a lovely evening, family and food...always a good combination! 

Anyone have any other traditions around or different from regular  Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


So a few months back, I spent a day off going through one of our storage units and got one emptied out.  Some was donated, some of it (broken items) was thrown away and then I brought some things to the farm.  For those that are new to the blog, these are storage units that have some of our stuff in there and then the stuff I inherited from my Mom and Dad.  We had three, and now we're down to one large one and another small one that's almost empty.  It has my Dad's tools, workbench, etc that will go to the barn at the farm soon.

This is a coffee pot with sugar and creamer that belonged to a Great Aunt in my family.  I can't remember off the top of my head the maker but it is very pretty and we'll definitely keep it (and use it) at the farm.

These are awesome...my Mom had assembled a collection of vintage aluminum-ware.  She had a red tray, twelve cups of varying colors, a yellow pitcher and four long spoons.  We can't wait to use these next Summer for some ice cream floats perhaps? 

This bowl belonged to my grandmother.  It's not in the best shape with a few nicks and chips and the gold trim rubbed off in spots but it's still a neat thing to have.  We think it will make a nice bowl for sitting out on the counter...fresh fruit perhaps?

She also had this old, vintage print.  It's sort of a painting but not an original.  I think these used to be sold in five and dime type stores.  It's pretty and because of the flower themes, it will go great in the guest room at the farm.

So those are a few of our latest bargains, and I say bargains because they were the best kind...FREE because we already had them!